Senator Richard G. Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding his concerns over a possible expanded NATO mission in the Libyan civil war:
The evident confusion surrounding the NATO Ministerial today in Brussels serves as a stark reminder that we have not had the necessary debate here at home about the costs, objectives, and duration of our military intervention in Libya’s civil war.
The Obama Administration committed U.S. forces to this conflict without clearly defining the mission or the criteria for success. As a result, there is now strategic confusion among America’s most steadfast allies and calls for increased U.S. military participation.
The Administration has emphasized that U.S. military involvement will be limited in its nature, duration, and scope. However, our forces continue to conduct strikes on Libyan targets even after the transfer of operational control to NATO. If the Administration is considering recommitting ground-attack aircraft to the mission, it is all the more important that we have a substantive debate on authorizing the use of force.
Congress and the American people deserve a better understanding of the Administration’s objectives in Libya and how it plans to achieve them. Critically, there must be an official accounting of how much this action is likely to cost in the short term, and a detailed estimate of the full cost of our engagement in Libya in the future. The administration is incurring these substantial expenses at the time when we are engaged in an intense national debate over how much to cut spending.
The deepening confusion that pervades our current operations in Libya underscores the urgent need for a full Congressional debate and vote on our involvement in the Libyan civil war.